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A smiling female student drips a chemical into a vial.A smiling female student drips a chemical into a vial.

Theatre and Dance


Pagen (chair), Buffington, Callery,  R. Hess, O'Donnell, Slavin


As a department within the College of Liberal Arts at California University of Pennsylvania, the mission of the Department of Theatre and Dance is to build students’ knowledge, skills and character through classroom instruction and high-quality theatrical productions. This prepares them for both entry-level employment and further study. The department also contributes to the cultural life of the University and serves as a cultural resource for the people of southwestern Pennsylvania.

California University's Bachelor of Arts in Theatre program is one of just 178 programs to be accredited by the National Association of Schools of Theatre.  NAST establishes national standards for undergraduate and graduate degrees and other credentials.


Theatre is an undergraduate degree program in the College of Liberal Arts and is included in the undergraduate degree secondary education communication certification program in the College of Education and Human Services. Theatre serves a dual function, providing occupational education and training for talented students pursuing careers in theater and providing educational and performance opportunities for all students.

The Department of Theatre and Dance sponsors two play-producing groups with membership open to all students: University Players, which produces Mainstage Productions, and Mon Valley Dance Council, which produces dance productions. These organizations, either individually or in combination, annually present six or more on-campus play, dance and musical productions.

The Department of Theatre and Dance rewards creative excellence by offering opportunities for upper-level students to produce shows, choreograph pieces, and direct or design both major and minor  productions. Theatre and dance majors are required to take practicum credits, which give students practical experience in various areas of production: technical production, dance, acting, design, management, directing, technical direction and touring theater.

Honor Society

Since 1938, outstanding students have annually been elected to the University Players' Hall of Fame. Membership in Alpha Psi Omega, the national honorary theater fraternity, is earned through both active participation in theater productions and achievement of satisfactory academic progress.


Graduates of California University work throughout the country in professional and semi-professional theater; in film and television; in teaching; in community and regional theater; in recreation; and in rehabilitation theater, public relations, interior decoration, costuming and arts management.